The brand split took place in 2016. SmackDown episodes were no longer taped as the blue brand got its own set of superstars and pay-per-views. The Vince McMahon owned company raised the number of PPVs post brand-split. As RAW and SmackDown had their own brand exclusive specials apart from the “Big 4”, the WWE Universe got a PPV every 15 days.
That was too much wrestling to watch and to add more to the troubles of fans almost half of the “B” shows (B doesn’t stand for best here) comprised rematches or boring feuds. The fans didn’t find the concept interesting, and the company has tried to cut down the number of shows ever since.
WWE realized its mistake and cancelled brand-exclusive PPVs. As of 2018, all the pay-per-views are dual-branded and occur once in a month. This idea too has its own limitations as the under-card and lower mid-card got neglected.
WWE cut down its PPVs in 2018 which led to the company terminating 5 brand-exclusive events.
#1 WWE Payback
WWE introduced the “Payback” PPV in 2013 and from then on it was a regular feature on the network until 2017. The event replace “No Way Out” in June 2013 but afterwards WWE used it as a post-WrestleMania pay-per-view. It was a RAW exclusive event last year and would have been a SmackDown exclusive one this past May but the company cancelled the show.
Payback 2014 was the last network special where The S.H.I.E.L.D took part in a six-man tag team match, a drought which ended at WWE Super Show-Down. The 2015 edition saw Seth Rollins defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a fatal 4 way match against his former S.H.I.E.L.D brothers Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. The 4th superstar in the match was the “Viper” Randy Orton.
In the next two years, the “Big Dog” Roman Reigns headlined Payback. While he defended his World Heavyweight title against AJ Styles in 2016, he lost to Braun Strowman in the main event of 2017.